News and Events

Constructive Dismissal

  • Posted

[Thanks to John Cook of SAS Daniels LLP for preparing this case summary]

If an employer upholds an employee's grievance about treatment by his immediate manager, can this prevent the employee relying on the treatment to show a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence?

Yes it can, says the EAT in Assamoi v Spirit Pub Company.

The employee worked as a head chef and raised a grievance about how he was being treated by his immediate manager. This was upheld by more senior managers who took steps to rectify the situation.

The EAT found that although the immediate manager had behaved badly towards the employee this did not, by itself, amount to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence. The actions of the more senior managers had prevented the matter escalating into a state of affairs that would have justified the employee leaving and claiming he was constructively dismissed.

There is a distinction between preventing matters escalating into a breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence and trying to cure a breach which has already taken place. Once a breach has taken place it cannot be cured - Bournemouth University Higher Education Corporation v Buckland[2010] ICR 908 CA.